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Post-Surgical Opioid Prescriptions Targeted for Massive Cuts in MI

By HealthLeaders Media News  
   October 31, 2016

An initiative led by the University of Michigan and the state's department of health aims to educate hospitals and surgical teams and to slash post-surgery prescriptions by half.

Surgeons prescribe nearly 40% of opioid painkillers in Michigan, and about one in 10 patients become dependent on them following surgery, University of Michigan researchers have determined.

To address both issues, the University of Michigan is working with the state to educate surgical teams about opioid use through the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan-OPEN). The goal is to cut in half both the amount of opioids prescribed to Michigan surgical patients, and the number of patients who still use opioids many months after surgery.

Opioid Prescribing May be Impervious to State Laws

Michigan-OPEN will be funded by a $1.4 million-per-year, five-year grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and equal funding from University of Michigan. The project will work with 12 Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan Collaborative Quality Initiatives (CQIs), which are networks of physicians, nurses, and hospitals across Michigan that collaborate to improve surgical care.

The CQIs will distribute information about how to understand and use best practices for pain control in their patients.

The team hopes that the information will help not only providers, but also state policymakers and insurance plans combat the opioid epidemic.

Chad Brummett, MD, director of the Division of Pain Research in the U-M Department of Anesthesiology, and surgeons Michael Englesbe, MD, and Jennifer Waljee, MD, MPH, MS will lead a team that will collect, analyze, and share information about opioid prescribing patterns in the state.

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